HCAs at Salisbury hospital to work towards diploma
All new healthcare assistants at a trust in Wiltshire will in future work towards a formal qualification.
Under the changes, trainee nursing assistants at Salisbury Foundation Trust will be working towards a recognised formal Diploma in Health and Social Care.
The minimum period for completion of the course is one year, but it is expected that most will take up to 18 months to complete.
The trust said the move to a structured apprentice model training programme would “enhance their knowledge and skills and give them a formal qualification”.
The change has been made by the trust in response to the Francis report into care failings at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust, which was published in February.
It also hopes the move will help improve staff retention rates and help with their future career progression.
Trust director of nursing Tracey Nutter, said: “This move will ensure that new nursing assistants have a more thorough and a rigorous training programme in place, increasing their skills and confidence and providing them with greater career opportunities in the future.
“Following the publication of the Francis Report, all trusts should be looking carefully at their own services to ensure they maintain high standards and that staff have the very best skills and knowledge they need to provide good quality compassionate care for their patents,” she said.
During their training period, HCAs will be paid more than the current national apprenticeship rate but less than an HCA would get if they were working on the wards under supervision.
A trust spokesman said: “The training will be for all new nursing assistants and as trainees we will be paying them under Annexe U of Agenda for Change.”
“The trainees will be paid 70% of the top of band 2 for the first six months and 75% for the subsequent 6-18 months. After they have finished their training they would then go on to band 2.”
Ms Nutter said: “We acknowledge that these new trainees will be earning less than nursing assistants who are currently working on wards.
“But we will be making a significant investment in their training and development in order to enable them to achieve a formal nationally recognised qualification,” she added. “In doing so, the trust took the decision not to pay the lower current national apprenticeship rate.”
Last month the government announced that it planned to introduce a national compulsory “care certificate” for all HCAs at some point in the future.
The decision follows a recommendation by a review of HCA education and training by the journalist Camilla Cavendish, which was published in July.
Health minister Lord Howe said the government would make a full response to Ms Cavendish’s report at a later point but it had already asked Health Education England to lead work “to develop a certificate of fundamental care”.
Are you able to Speak Out Safely? Sign our petition to put pressure on your trust to support an open and transparent NHS.